Monday, April 30, 2012

Homemade Cajun Baked Potato Chips

What is it about the good ol' fried tater that make the American heart sing? Oh yeah, it's the blessed flavor and texture and smell and everything that there is to love about fried potatoes! Most folks say frying food is bad for you, personally, I'm of a different mind, but we won't get into that here. The only complaint I have is that deep frying not easy to do right without buying something fancy. So I don't deep fry much, but a girl still needs her oily, salty, crunchiness fix a few times a month, okay, a week..and thus this recipe was born. It's not difficult, and if you have a mandolin slicer (like i does) it's really a total breeze. Give it a try yourself with some of those near-rotting potatoes lurking on the floor of the pantry growing their freaky eyes. (do it now. they're only going to get scarier down there.)

Homemade Baked Cajun Tater Chips
Makes approx. 4 servings.

3-4 small or 2 large taters (I use Yukon Gold because of the fantastic flavor)
Olive Oil (about 2-3 Tb)
Seasonings of your choosing (I used salt, pepper, and of course, Cajun seasoning)

Preheat oven to 400°. Using half your oil, grease a foil-lined cookie sheet – be generous or these babies will stick. Wash potatoes, and slice ‘em in half.  Grab your mandolin slicer (gosh, I love that contraption) 

and set it for ¼ inch or use a chef’s knife…and make chips. Lay chips in a single layer on the greased sheet. Brush the rest of the oil on the sliced chips and sprinkle with seasonings, salt, and pepper. Slide ‘em into the oven to bake for 15-18min or until the outer edge chips are browning slightly. Remove from oven and let ‘em sit for a moment to finish crisping. (If you move them too soon they can rip.) Scoop ‘em off the foil and place ‘em on a paper towel to soak up excess oil before serving. Serve immediately with Virginia's own Dominion root beer for most enjoyment!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

To Make: Homemade Yogurt Pretzels

UPDATE: As several of you have posted in the comments, and as I myself experienced when I did make them, these puppies go stale FAST. If anybody finds a way around this, let me know! Also, some of you put the wire rack in the oven without the cookie sheet under it, and all I have to say to that is... uh, don't forget the cookie sheet!

sumpthing i'm dying to try is making yo-go pretzels. i have sweet (punny!) childhood memories of my mom loving to eat and lovingly sharing little bags of these goodies we would buy from the sweet shop at the mall. the ones i find at the store don't taste as good as those from my yesteryears tho, so i've wanted to try my hand at making this snacky to share with my own cubs. plus, as you've recently read, i'm diggin' whippin' up my own homemade yogurt these days, so we have it on hand often! and have i mentioned that that stuff is the best yo-go i've ever tasted??? yerrrrmz!!! okay, focus on the food at hand. 

below is the recipe i plan to try with a barrel of pretzel sticks i got last week. (also bought because of happy memories, but now they're going to go stale because i like the idea of them more than the actuality. "emotional purchasing much, Em?" yup.) recipe via a bunch of places on the web. really. it's the same recipe on like nine sites....

Yogurt Pretzels

10 dozen small pretzels
2 cups yogurt
5 cups confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 250°F.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the confectioners sugar into the yogurt, one cup at a time with a hand blender.
Using tongs, dip the pretzels, one at a time, into the frosting and place them on a wire cooling rack with a cookie sheet under the rack to catch the excess frosting that will drip.
Once all pretzels are coated, turn oven off and place the wire rack on the cookie sheet in the oven, leaving the oven door slightly open. The excess heat will help the frosting dry without leaving the pretzels soggy.
Allow frosting to harden for 3-4 hours, remove from oven, and store pretzels in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

De-lish Homemade Yogurt in the Crockpot

yermz. that's our family word for yummy, and that's how my afternoon snack tastes ... right... now. i confess i had my doubts about how well homemade yogurt would taste, but y'all, lemme tell ya, iz gooood. at least my recipe is (cute face), which is why i decided to share it with ya. but better than the flavor, truthfully, is how EASY it is to make. don't "bleeve" me? (as my 4yr old says) try it for yo' self....
Photo from

Easy Crockpot Yogurt
Makes about 4 cups

  • 8 Cups Milk (any kind)
  • ½ cup plain or vanilla yogurt (any kind with live cultures, or use left over homemade yogurt)
  • ½ cup powdered milk (this is optional, use for thicker yogurt)
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 TB vanilla extract

Pour milk into crockpot and heat on low for 2 ½ hrs. When time is up, turn off pot and unplug it. Allow warm milk to sit covered for 3hrs to allow the temp to drop some. After that, remove 1 cup of warm milk and pour it into a medium bowl. Add powdered milk, honey, sugar, and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Pour sweetened mixture back into crockpot and whisk well to blend. Put the lid on, and wrap the unplugged pot in a thick towel covering the sides and top to insulate it. Allow the yogurt mixture to sit like that for at least 8 hrs or over night. When it’s done the yogurt is ready to eat, but it may be runnier that you like. You can strain it to thicken it.


To strain it, take a colander, line it with a white coffee filter or cheese cloth (or be cool like me and use one of those thin Ikea towels), and place it over a bowl. Then ladle your yogurt into the strainer and place the bowl/strainer combo into the fridge where your yogurt can cool. After several hours, the watery whey will strain out of the yogurt, leaving it nice and thick. Scrape the yogurt out of the coffee filter and into a container. If you want Greek style, dump it back into the strainer with a fresh filter and strain it again. Now save that whey (watery stuff), y'all! Use it in baking or smoothies in place of milk or buttermilk - it will add great nutrition without changing the flavor.

Yogurt will keep for 2 weeks. Whey keeps for 6 months in a sealed container. 

recipe adapted from alicia's method.

Monday, April 2, 2012

this month's canvases

this one is part 2 of a four foot tri-paneled commission for a girlfriend, and it was quite a handful. it takes a lot of work to make something look this thrown together. acrylics, water, paper towels bits, and house paint on canvas

this primary colored piece is huge. it's almost as big as me. i did this one just for fun one afternoon and i think it looks just like fun. adam says the more he looks at it, the more he likes it. when i took it down from the wall in our bathroom where it was hanging (too moist in there), he said, "no! don't take my happiness!" acrylics on canvas

this is an imagined, mid-western landscape from a daydream (hence the fish-eye styled framing). the only "west" i've visited is colorado, but i imagine that nevada or new mexico somewhere look like this. anyone been there? acrylics on canvas

aaaaaaaaaaand that's all for now.